When writing is a passion, and a pandemic presents an opportunity to explore your pastime, you write! That’s what Amanda Di Zazzo and her mother Pierina Procino Di Zazzo of Montreal did — they worked on and almost simultaneously self-published books recently.

“My mother published Coastal Fear this summer, the second in a series of cozy murder mysteries that bring readers from Gaspé, Québec to Narragansett, Rhode Island,” Amanda said. The story follows a simple Montrealer who finds herself in the most extraordinary circumstances.

“At 12, I wrote a novella about a young girl who forms an unlikely friendship and unique connection with a pod of dolphins. I had always been fascinated by marine biology, and the book sat collecting dust on my shelf until I rediscovered it a few years ago. During my back-to-back maternity leaves, I decided to rework it. When I became a mother, it became important to share my love for the ocean and literature, which led me to rework the book during maternity leave. I published Flashes at the end of October.”

She’s an attorney and the mom of a two-year-old and a 10-month-old. It was only in the midst of COVID that she was able to find the time to dig up her childhood tale and turn it into the book she’d always dreamed of.

The circumstances of the pandemic definitely gave the two writers time to fine-tune their tales. “We were confined to our homes, and with two young children I wasn’t comfortable at the beginning bringing them out, and I needed an outlet, an escape,” Amanda explained.

And, given the two authors knew each other so well, they were the perfect team to collaborate on brainstorming. “We read each other’s work, did some editing, and threw ideas back and forth. It’s always helpful to get my mom’s advice because we think similarly and offered input to each other. I found it really helpful.”

Pierina said she has always loved to read and write and publishing books has been a lifelong dream since she was a child. She published her first book, Locked Door, in 2016, and, like her daughter, was excited to self-publish her second title.

“I dedicated my life to raising my kids, and it was only recently that I found the time to sit and write,” said Pierina. “Getting published by a publishing house is a lengthy process and you have to find a literary agent. It could be years before they notice your work, if at all. But I was pleasantly surprised with the results of self-publishing and would recommend it to people who have something to offer but want it out there sooner than later. Self-publishing was a great choice for both of us.”

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